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Honor Committee discusses post-semester survey results, plans for Honor Week

The Committee reviewed results from a survey released Dec.19

<p>The Committee also explored results from the Honor annual information gathering survey, which was <a href="https://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2023/12/honor-committee-passes-bylaw-to-increase-prehearing-flexibility-reviews-questions-for-post-semester-survey"><u>released</u></a> just before winter break. &nbsp;</p>

The Committee also explored results from the Honor annual information gathering survey, which was released just before winter break.  

In their first meeting of the spring semester, the Honor Committee met Sunday to review results from a survey that was distributed Dec.19 to assess the University community's perception of the Committee and recent changes to the Honor system, particularly the shift to the multi-sanction system. Though the survey will remain open until Feb. 9, the Committee discussed responses that were submitted prior to Jan. 16. 

The survey was designed by graduate Engineering Rep. Kasra Lekan, second-year Engineering Rep. Alexander Church and graduate Rep. Adrian Mamaril, in part, to hear from student voices about Honor ahead of Honor Week. Honor Week, scheduled to begin Feb. 4th, will be filled with events designed to foster conversation and increase engagement with the Committee. 

At Sunday’s meeting, Church spoke about the 356 results from the survey, a number which constitutes less than two percent of the University population. Only student responses were analyzed during the meeting. One survey question sought the respondent’s opinion on the percentage of students they believe follow the Honor code, with the most common response being 60 percent.

“[60 percent] is much lower than I think all of us want it to be,” Church said, “I think this is good to understand what other students think about being able to trust themselves and each other.” 

Another question asked students whether they had witnessed any honor offenses, and for those who had, whether they subsequently reported the violation.        

“The vast majority of people that did witness honor offenses did not report,” Church said. “That’s something really important to consider when we are thinking about the number of cases that we are getting….if a lot of students aren’t reporting cases, then we are really not getting a full snapshot of all of the offenses.” 

The survey also asked about student engagement with faculty. One question asked if students believe that their professors clearly communicate Honor-related policies — the results indicated that students feel that they do.

​​The survey then presented qualitative and open-ended questions, including one where students were prompted to describe an Honor offense that, in their perspective, merits expulsion.

“A lot of people thought that expulsion should be reserved for second repeat offenses. There were some people that believed that expulsion is not deserved for any Honor offense,” Church said. “This is really good when we are thinking about some of our sanctioning guidelines [and] what the community thinks they should represent.” 

One of the last questions allowed participants to express concerns or any additional thoughts — Church said that these responses were mixed, with some expressing concern for the fairness of trials or the inflexibility or harshness of sanctions. 

The Committee discussed expanding this survey initiative into conversational tabling discussions throughout Honor Week. Hamza Aziz, Committee chair and fourth-year College student, mentioned that the insights gained from the survey would inform the development of tabling questions, scheduled to take place multiple times throughout Honor Week.

“I think it is interesting to hear what questions students have. So not only can we figure that out, but also potentially answer them in real time,” Aziz said. 

The Committee will reconvene Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. 

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